The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Groped

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 9

    Groped

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Teargassed